Shakespeare's Globe

RSS Performance Notes 3

In his final blog post, Paul discusses how he now feels about performing on the Globe stage, and offers advice to GlobeLink students rehearsing for their own production of Macbeth.

Transcript of Podcast

The end of the season

We have come to the end of the season and I feel that yet again this year I have learnt much that I can carry forward into any future seasons at the Globe. I feel that the more I work at the Globe, the less of a mystery the use of voice on the stage becomes. I now believe that any actor can be heard in the Globe theatre, as long as they think about speaking their lines clearly and being aware of the audience and the need to talk directly to the audience.

The Globe stage

The Globe stage is a very exposing space to work in. There are no lights or special effects to hide behind. The attention is all on the actor. If you don’t make very clear, strong, consistent choices about your character then your character will come across as confused and the audience will not engage with you. As an actor, if you like speaking language and the study of very simple relationships then it is a wonderful place to work. I find the audience inspiring. But, you do have to be aware that you are on an enormous colourful stage and that you are trying to make your mark on it. For this reason your performance has to be quite bold. If it is bland you will be swallowed by the stage. The Globe stage makes big demands on the actor. Your focus has to be very clear because your eyes are almost acting as spotlights to the audience. The focus is with the performer that the others on stage are looking at. At every moment in the play it has to be decided where the focus is. This is the director’s choice. Everything at the Globe boils down to these types of choices. Every year I find that I feel more relaxed about performing on the Globe stage. It is starting to come naturally.


I understand that you are currently in rehearsal for a production of Macbeth. My advice to you is to make sure that you enjoy it and to really try things out in rehearsal. However, it is important to always base your choices on what is written in the text. Remember that these plays were written to be performed and I am sure that Shakespeare would have wanted people to try wild things with them. It is always better to try something that is over the top in rehearsal and then tone it down than to not have the ideas in the first place. Don’t be afraid of trying things. Try and look for the tragic moments in the comic scenes and the comedy in the tragic scenes. The humour in Macbeth is very oblique and often ignored. Don’t shy away from it. The humour helps to create the peaks and troughs in the language and the images. Be inventive and enjoy it. Remember that all Shakespeare is doing is telling a story. You are storytellers.

These comments are the actor’s thoughts or ideas about the part as s/he goes through the rehearsal process – they are simply his/her own interpretations and may change frequently as the rehearsal and performance process progresses.

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